LOS ANGELES -- The Sacramento Kings (2-1) first road test of the season was personified by another monster performance by a marquee player and a tremendous defensive effort holding the Clippers (2-1) to 19 first quarter points and 18 fourth quarter en route to a 98-92 win.
After Rudy Gay went for 40 points on Friday night in a home win over Portland, DeMarcus Cousins went crazy, scoring 34 points and grabbing 17 rebounds while the aforementioned Gay went for 25.
The Kings employed locked down defense in the first quarter overcoming an early Clippers 13-6 lead, to finish the quarter on a 19-6 run led by ten points each from DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay.
Sacramento held the Clippers to 28 percent shooting from the floor and 33 percent from 3-point range in the first quarter.
However, the Clippers bench responded primarily against Sacramento’s second unit taking a 34-20 lead with 7:53 to go in the second quarter before Collison, Cousins and Gay returned to the floor.
A Jared Cunningham spinning layup gave Los Angeles a 36-30 advantage at 7:18 mark and Kings coach Michael Malone need a timeout.
The Kings responded with a modest 5-3 run trailing 38-35 near the halfway point of the quarter at 5:48 when Chris Paul reentered the game for the Clippers after suffering a left foot sprain in the first quarter.
The Clippers outscored the Kings 13-10 over the remainder of the quarter capped by ex-King Spencer Hawes’ 3-pointer with 48.1 seconds left in the second quarter to secure a 51-45 Clippers halftime lead and solidified his spot as the home team’s leading scorer with 13 first-half points off the bench.
Cousins secured a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds and Gay dropped in 12 and Collison 9 points versus his old squad in the first half.
The Clippers started the third quarter on a 15-11 run fueled by nine points by Chris Paul to take a 10 point lead at 64-54 with 7:17 to go.
A Blake Griffin layup gave the Clippers a 66-56 lead with 6:01 to go in the third quarter.
Cousins picked up his fourth foul at the 4:05 mark of the third quarter but he returned to the floor at the start of the fourth quarter and delivered three consecutive buckets for the Kings, forcing Doc Rivers to call a timeout as the Kings cut the Clippers lead to two at 78-76 with 10:26 to go in the fourth quarter.
A power layup by Carl Landry tied it at 82 at the 7:26 mark of the fourth and his free throw after being fouled on the shot by Griffin gave the Kings a one-point advantage.
Sacramento executed down the stretch punctuated by a Jason Thompson dunk giving the Kings the lead at 92-88 with 1:48 and Sacramento closed the deal from there.
Collison tallied 14 points and four assists.
Blake Griffin and Hawes led the Clippers with 17 points apiece.
DeMarcus Cousins went off for 34 points and 17 rebounds. It was his world tonight and the Clippers were just living in it.
Fourth quarter lockdown defense by the Kings, holding a championship contending team to just 18 points in their building.
For the Clippers, C/F Glen Davis (strained right groin) is doubtful, G Jamal Crawford (sore ribs) 50/50 according to Doc Rivers pregame press conference. Chris Paul suffered a left foot sprain in the first quarter but returned to action.
For Sacramento, no injuries to report.
Sacramento travels Denver to face the Nuggets on Monday to begin a home-and-home series. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PST. The two teams play in Sacramento on Wednesday evening.